Cricket World Cup takeaways: India dominates, England flops, Afghanistan arrives and Kohli shines

After 39 days and 45 matches, the long group stage of the Cricket World Cup is over and four teams are still in the running for the title.

The semi-finals this week are India vs New Zealand and South Africa vs Australia.

Before that, it’s time to look at the big stories that came out of the tournament:

Playing at home has never been more important in a 50-over World Cup. The host or co-host nation has won the last three tournaments – India in 2011, Australia in 2015 and England in 2019 – and the Indians have gone through the group stage of this edition with nine wins right in front of his own fans. . They knew the best conditions, they know the advantages of batting first or chasing in every venue, and they are comfortable in the environment. Prior to 2011, the host nation had won the event only once – Sri Lanka in the 1996 tournament which it co-hosted with Pakistan and India, and the Sri Lankans only staged two matches amid security concerns.

The English became the leading team in white-ball cricket, given their status as World Cup holders in the Twenty20 and 50-over formats. The team that helped revolutionize the ODI game with an ultra-aggressive approach has aged, however, and English cricket authorities have turned their backs on the 50-over game in favor of focusing on ball resetting red of the test team and introducing The Hundred, a controversial new domestic competition. With the players perhaps believing their own hype, as well as an unlikely slump in form, England has put in one of the worst title defenses imaginable, winning three games and finishing in seventh place. England moved out of last place by winning their last two games. So it’s back to the drawing board for England, who will need to develop a fresh young squad for the 2027 World Cup.

Looking at the big picture, this World Cup must be the story of Afghanistan’s coming-of-age displays, long-time favorites in international cricket and a team now widely admired for its journey to the elite. Beating England in week two shook the competition but won over Sri Lanka, Pakistan and the Netherlands to prove that it was no fluke, and victory over Australia seemed to be on the cards before Glenn Maxwell’s great deposit. This is a team, remember, that has come a long way in the face of many challenges such as security threats, destroyed infrastructure and persistent poverty. It’s an inspiring story in a sport that can often cut off low-level teams’ access to the top events and many will be celebrating sixth place. PERMANENT KOHLI
No cricketer has more pressure on his shoulders than former India captain Virat Kohli. You wouldn’t know it from his performances at this World Cup. This could ultimately go down as Kohli’s World Cup, with “The King” – as he is sometimes referred to – hitting two unbeaten hundreds and five fifties, including 95 against New Zealand who saw him falling out for a game-bearing six. He averaged 99 and led the scoring list with 594 runs in the group stage with a duck against England. He even took a wicket – his first in ODIs since 2014 – in the last series match against the Netherlands. At 35, approaching 300 ODIs and free from the captaincy, Kohli may have never been so good and that’s saying something for a player who was chosen by the ICC as the best men’s cricketer of the 2010s. Watch out for Sachin Tendulkar – your record for most runs in ODIs (18,426) is not safe.

STAR performers
Apart from Kohli, there were several star performers. South African opener Quinton de Kock was the most destructive batsman with 591 runs, Rachin Ravindra, a 23-year-old player from New Zealand, has become the first batsman to score a triple century with 565 runs on his debut match in the World Cup and on Maxwell’s tournament-high 201 not out for Australia as a result of victory over Afghanistan last week which could be the biggest innings in any World Cup. Of the bowlers, Adam Zampa’s turn has been a comfort blanket for Australia after a slow start, especially in his 3-21 against England, and he led the wicket tally with 22. For India, paceman Jasprit Bumrah after 17 take a wicket and Mohammed. Shami has taken two five-wicket hauls and comfortably averages the best among specialist bowlers in the tournament.

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